Saudi forces lift Yemen airport blockade

A malnourished boy lies on a bed at a hospital in the Red Sea port city of Houdieda Yemen

Two air strikes targeted the ministry late on Friday and plumes of smoke could be seen billowing from the building, the rebel media network Al Masirah quoted witnesses as saying.

The United Nations had warned that a total blockade could cause a starvation that could kill millions in Yemen, where 2-1/2 years of war has killed at least 10,000 people and unleashed starvation and disease in the already impoverished country.

Concerned by the rise of the rebels, who are allegedly backed by Iran, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Sunni Arab states launched a massive air campaign in 2015 aimed at reinstalling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government.

The blockade came in response to a ballistic missile fired at the Saudi capital Riyadh by the Houthis two days earlier. Today this was reported by Al Arabiya channel.

Should Monday's blockade - that saw the coalition force the closure of all of Yemen's borders - continue, says the United Nations, it would bring millions of people closer to "starvation and death".

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The missile which was intercepted on November 4 has escalated tensions between regional foes Saudi Arabia and Iran, which Riyadh blames for supplying the missile to the Houthis.

The coalition tightened its blockade on Yemen after the missile was sacked.

Three years into a brutal conflict, Yemen depends on imports - amounting to up to 90 per cent of its daily needs - and millions in the country are being kept alive by humanitarian aid.

"If I have to compare Yemen to a person, I would say that this person is very sick, this person is very weakened, and is being drip-fed, so if you want to keep the patient alive, we need to reactivate drip-feeding as soon as possible", International Committee of the Red Cross Regional Director for the Near and Middle East Robert Mardini told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Yemeni Houthi rebels have directly rebutted USA assertions that a missile launched into Saudi Arabia earlier this month was manufactured by Shiite ally Iran.

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